Press release -

Maritime And Coastguard Agency: Falmouth Coastguard helps starving remote islanders

Falmouth Coastguard is helping a group of hungry islanders, who were discovered by a British sailor whilst he was taking a yacht from Hawaii to Australia.

The sailor, who comes from Penryn, near Falmouth, was delivering the yacht to Australia, and decided to stop off on the way at Kanton Island, an atoll half way between Hawaii and Fiji.  The island, which is a narrow strip of land surrounding a large lagoon is inhabited by 14 adults and ten children.

When the British sailor arrived, he was met by the desperate and starving islanders who had not been delivered any supplies for months.  The supply ship which should have brought them provisions was stuck at a nearby island. They had been living off just coconuts and any fish that they could catch for months.

The British sailor contacted Falmouth Coastguard by his satellite phone to request help for the islanders.  Falmouth Coastguard has now been in contact with the American Coastguard and the Honolulu authorities to make arrangements to drop supplies to the islanders.

Richard Williams, Falmouth Coastguard Watch Assistant says:

“The British sailor has given the islanders all the supplies that he can spare from his 33 foot yacht.  We are now working with the Americans to drop supplies or land on the island.  As the island was used by the Americans and the British during the war it does have a run way.

“We don’t normally get requests like these from British sailors, but hopefully we will be able to help the islanders to get the supplies that they need.  So far, we have been given a shopping list of provisions such as cooking fat, rice, sugar and flour which we have passed on to the Americans.”

Notes to editors

For further information please contact

Duty Press Officer on 07703 584024 out of hours or

Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press Office, during office hours on:

(023) 8032 9401

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Notes to editors:

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Before you set to sea remember to:

get trained;

wear a lifejacket;

avoid alcohol;

take a method of communication with you; and

check the weather and tides.


NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department


  • Government


  • kanton island
  • falmouth